It was just about a year ago when +Tom let me know he was heading up to St. Andrews to focus more on his writing and academic work. With that news I started the job hunt. I was able to pull together a good patch-work of part-time stuff for 2010-2011–teaching for the Lindisfarne (a non-residential Anglican training college [~seminary]), doing TA work with Crispin Fletcher-Louis at the Westminister Theological Centre (a Christian college supporting the New Wine movement), and doing research work for John Barclay here in Durham. Each has been helpful and enriching, but the hunt for something long-term was always going on.
After a few interviews (interestingly, all by phone or skype) with the good folks at Houston Baptist University over the last month or so, I was offered a position as an Assistant Professor of Christianity for this Fall. I guess my 5 years as a post-dispensational Methodist studying deification while working for a controversial bishop didn’t scare this Baptist school off. Needless to say, we’re excited about the prospects and about working with the crowd there. My good friend Joey Dodson taught there a few years back and highly commended them, and I’ve been doing some editing work with David Capes on the Voice, so that helped me get a little more personal contact with the faculty. The other thing I’m pleased about is Robert Sloan’s vision for the university. They are definitely moving in a healthy direction–they want to keep a confessional atmosphere but engage more widely outside of that confessional setting.
I’m by no means an expert at job hunting, but after my job search my advice for others is to make sure you attend (and hopefully present at) conferences. At SBL during my first year here in Durham I met Mike Gorman and kicked off a good friendship with him. It turned out that he has connections at HBU as well and served as a helpful reference. A couple of years later Joey introduced me to David Capes at SBL. In a tight market these personal connections make all the difference. I’m not a good networker, but just going to conferences allows you to strike up informal relationships that may just pay off.
So come August 2, God willing, we’ll arrive back to the homeland of Texas and experience some of that beautiful Houston weather. We’ll miss Durham and especially our church, but I’m also looking forward to proper tea and biscuits. : )